Friday, December 08, 2006

Funny Food Fun

So, it's holiday time, and I'm getting ready to bust out a mind-blowing batch of my jule biscotti. I went to the grocery store today for the ingredients and spent A LOT of time examining all of the baking goodies. Maraschino cherries come in little plastic bags, kind of like large ketchup packets. Candied ginger and plain cocoa are completely non-existent. I asked a sweet young store employee for "kakao," and she took me to the chocolate drink mix section. I said, "nej, kakao uden sukker" (no, cocoa without sugar), and then she took me to the diabetic sugar-free chocolate drink mix section. I can't believe I cannot find ginger anywhere. This nation was practically built on gingersnaps, and yet no actual ginger available. No wonder they lost the war.

But, here's the crowning glory. I bought this chocolate, figuring it was baking chocolate, or just regular dark chocolate. (After wolfing down an entire box of chocolate Ex-lax at age 4, you'd think I'd be a little more careful about vaguely understood chocolate packaging. I'm kind of edgy and daring that way.)

After bringing it home, I translated the package, which says, "30 pieces dark chocolate for sandwiches." Bread crammed with dark chocolate... I think I'm in heaven. (Just hold the herring, please.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A few things...

1. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way in Denmark. Cars do. I have shaken my fist and shot deathray laser beams from my eyes at drivers thousands of times upon almost being mowed down on the street. Crosswalks are really cobblestoned reminders for pedestrians where it's probably somewhat safe to cross the road, and they are invisible to drivers. You will be scowled at for attempting to cross, period, so get used to it. (Or just stay on one side of the street at all times.)

2. Danish movie theaters have assigned seats. You get your seat when you buy your ticket. Even if the theater isn't full, Danes stay in their assigned seats, crappy sightline or not. They do have popcorn for sale, but by far the vast majority will be gumming salted licorice instead. (Quieter that way, too.)

3. Milk is sold in one size -- a quart carton. No behemoth plastic jugs or even large paper cartons, just quarts. It's a common sight to see a Danish hausfrau wheeling her shopping cart around with 10-12 of these cartons in a heap at the bottom.

4. Danes loooo-ooo-ooove to be tan. Orange tan, in fact, the darker and more cinnamon/tangerine-tinted the better. This look seems to be favored mainly by middle-aged women and late-teen boys. I still can't tell if it's tanning beds or self-tanner, though I think it's a combination of the two. Tanning salons are on just about every block in our town, and they seem to be the only thing open until late at night besides bars.

5. Christmas trees do not go up until around the 22nd or 23rd of December, and then they're usually not decorated until Christmas Eve, which is THE main holiday event, not Christmas Day. The 25th is about hanging out and watching TV or napping. Rather than hang stockings on the mantle the night before Christmas, Danish kids hang them on their bedroom doorknob, into which a small gift is put every single night in December, making for a far greater overall yule booty than the regular Christmas morning stocking score.